Saturday, 22 September 2018

Terry Durham “Crystal Telephone” 1968 UK Folk Rock


Terry Durham “Crystal Telephone” 1968 UK Folk Rock

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Poet, painter and songwriter Terry Durham’s only album (1969) for the Deram label, taking in styles including free jazz, jazz-rock and the bossa nova, all accompanied by Durham’s thoughful spoken word lyrics. 

Yorkshire’s answer to Serge Gainsbourg, Terry Durham’s singular solo album from 1969 remains a freakbeat / breakbeat / jazz / blues classic. Partly sung, mostly spoken, Durham’s vocal delivery of his poetry and lyrics is faultless. On the more mellow tracks Durham recites his poems over some high quality jazz, pop and orchestral arrangements and shows that he was obviously a sensitive sort of fella. Alternatively, there’s some real experimental sounds going on here, particularly on the free form jazz of ‘Branwells Corner’ and the beats-heavy closing track 'Stills From A Late Night Movie’ (where Durham name checks a whole host of 20th century icons - Marlon Brando, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Chairman Mao, Andy Warhol etc.). Other highlights include the title track, the brass band led 'Fryston Man’ where, over the tune of Abide With Me, Durham laments the closing down of the Fryston Pit and the blues drenched 'Dreams of Tomorrow in Every Language’. ……~


Pairing poet Terry Durham with talents including avant-garde saxophonist Evan Parker and veteran arranger John Coleman, Crystal Telephone remains one of the singular records of the late '60s, a lush and funky word-jazz fantasia shrouded in cigarette smoke and drunk on language. Durham’s crushed-velvet voice recalls John Cale’s spoken word recitation of “The Gift” on the Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat, albeit couched in Coleman’s cinematic, thickly rhythmic jazz-rock settings. His vividly perverse song-poems capture the romantic allure of fatalism (or is that the fatal allure of romance?), and his attempts at crooning, especially Crystal Telephone’s transcendent title cut, are particularly effective. A masterpiece of decadence and indulgence…..by Jason Ankeny…~



Writer, poet and painter Terry Durham recorded this one-off, strangely beautiful album for the Deram label and disappeared from sight. The fact that a major record label released such unusual and unconventional production proves the incredible atmosphere of the late 1960s, before the record industry became completely ruthless and unsympathetic to innovation and musical progress. The album includes a series of poems by Durham, which he recites (partly in spoken word and partly singing) on top of a magnificent musical background composed and orchestrated by John Coleman. The words and music fit one another perfectly and Durham’s poems stand the test of time beautifully. Although the full list of musicians participating in the recording is not given, a most notable, and again highly unusual appearance by Free Jazz saxophone giant Evan Parker is one of the highlights of the album. Guitarist Alan Parker also makes a notable appearance and the composer’s piano playing is featured as well. Make no mistake – this is not a Jazz album at all. In fact it’s almost impossible to categorize at all, as it transcends genres and conventions at will. For the lack of a better solution I placed it under Progressive Rock, but it belongs probably more to a non-existent Poetry and Music sub-genre (as opposed to Poetry and Jazz which is a real sub-genre). Genres aside, this is a wonderful memento of a great time, which sounds today as good as it ever did. Wholeheartedly recommended to the adventurous listeners….by..Jazzis ….~



Credits 
Conductor, Piano – John Coleman 
Drums – Chris Karen* 
Engineer – Bill Price, Roy Thomas Baker 
Guitar – Alan Parker 
Producer – Tony Chapman 
Soprano Saxophone – Evan Parker 
Vocals – Terry Durham 
Written-By – John Coleman, Terry Durham





Tracklist 
A1 Crystal Telephone
A2 Branwells Corner
A3 White Room Dreaming
A4 Sleep Train
A5 Fryston Man
B1 Sunday Morning
B2 The Fortunate Isles
B3 Dreams Of Tomorrow In Every Language
B4 Moving Through My Life
B5 Stills From A Late Night Movie 

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